Agenda and draft minutes

South Hams Council - Thursday, 31st March, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Follaton House. View directions

Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@swdevon.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

70/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 372 KB

to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 10 February 2022

Minutes:

70/21    

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 10 February 2022 were confirmed as a true and correct record.

 

71/21

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Code of Conduct, Members are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Other Registerable Interests and Non-Registerable Interests including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;

Minutes:

71/21    

Members were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting but there were none made.

 

 

72/21

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

72/21

The Chairman advised that whilst he had no business to bring forward, he wished to acknowledge the suffering and loss of life taking place in the conflict in Eastern Europe and led the Council in observing a moment’s silence.

 

 

73/21

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Update pdf icon PDF 622 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

73/21                    

The Council considered a report which provided an update on the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Business Case and information on the associated financial modelling.

 

In discussion, reference was made to:-

 

(a)      the following amendment was PROPOSED and SECONDED:

 

That part 3b of the recommendation be deleted and a new part 6 be added as follows:

 

6.    The approval of the Articles of Association and Reserved Matters for the Freeport Company, Member agreements between South Hams District Council (SHDC), Plymouth City Council (PCC); and Devon County Council (DCC) and other relevant legal agreements be determined by Council.’

 

In introducing his amendment, the proposer set out the significance of the Freeport initiative and felt that this was such that it warranted the Articles of Association and Reserved Matters for the Company being determined by Full Council as opposed to a senior officer under delegated authority.

 

Whilst this view was shared by some Members, other Members stated their lack of support for the amendment and made reference to both the operational nature of the Articles of Association and Reserved Matters and the ability for Members to influence their content (via the delegated authority) before any final decision was made.

 

When put to the vote, the amendment was declared LOST;

 

(b)      the importance of apprenticeship opportunities.  A Member echoed the comments made at the Special Executive Meeting earlier in the day (Minute E.97/21 refers) whereby the Freeport initiative would lead to a number of direct benefits in relation to the provision of skilled labour opportunities and that this should be strongly encouraged and welcomed;

 

(c)       the initiative representing a great opportunity for the Plymouth and South Devon area.  Members highlighted the extent of the opportunities and far reaching benefits that would be generated through this initiative.  Whilst some Members wished to record their opposition to the Freeport concept, they also advised that they recognised the potential benefits for the South Hams in this instance and were therefore supportive of the recommendation.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.      That South Hams District Council’s full participation in the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport be approved;

 

2.      That approval be given to the formation of a company limited by guarantee and for South Hams District Council (SHDC) to be a founder member alongside Devon County Council (DCC) and Plymouth City Council (PCC) to operate the Freeport;

 

3.      That authority be delegated to the Director of Place and Enterprise, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, lead Executive Member for Economy and Section 151 Officer to:

 

a.      submit the Full Business Case (FBC) for the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport;

b.      approve the articles of association and reserved matters for the Freeport company and enter into member agreements between SHDC, PCC and DCC, and other relevant legal agreements;

c.      enter into the business rates retention sharing agreement with DCC, as set out in 4.22 to 4.24 of the published agenda report;

d.      enter into land owner agreements aligned to Freeport objectives; and

e.      acquire  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73/21

74/21

Fusion Lifestyle - Leisure Contract Support Update pdf icon PDF 520 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

74/21                   

Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on current performance levels of Fusion Lifestyle, the Council’s leisure centre operator. It informed on the recovery and business impact within the Contract experienced as a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic and proposed contract variations so as to mitigate those impacts, including the adjustment of the future management fee profile to reflect the impact of the pandemic.

.                             

In discussion, reference was made to:

 

(a)      future financial requests from Fusion.  When questioned, the Fusion representative in attendance advised that, whilst he could not predict the future, the funding forecasts that had been carried out by the organisation were predicting that there should not be a need for any further requests to be made to the Council for additional financial support;

 

(b)      the pricing strategy.  In expressing her disappointment over the increased Leisure Centre prices and the need for the facilities to be inclusive to all, a Member was concerned that equivalent services that were being delivered by private leisure facilities were in fact less expensive and she therefore called on Fusion to adopt a more reasonable pricing strategy;

 

(c)       the intention for a meeting to be held with local Ward Members regarding the Totnes Leisure Centre.  In recognising the different contractual relationship for Totnes Leisure Centre, the intention for an imminent meeting to be arranged between the Executive lead Member for Leisure; the three local Ward Members; a representative of Tadpool; a representative of Fusion; and relevant lead officers was welcomed;

 

(d)      consideration of the Fusion Annual Report by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee reminded the meeting that Fusion representatives were due to attend the Committee meeting to be held on 21 April 2022.  As a result, Members were encouraged to ask their operational questions at this Committee meeting;

 

(e)      the incredible challenges that had been faced by the leisure industry.  Since the offset of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Members highlighted the extent of the challenges that had been faced by the Leisure industry.  Furthermore, the point was made that, in light of the spiralling energy costs, the pressures facing the industry were likely to continue;

 

(f)        comparisons to other local authorities across the South West region.  In support of the proposals, some Members highlighted the extent of the financial subsidies that had been provided by other local authorities across the region in order to support their respective local leisure industries, which were far greater than had been allocated by South Hams District Council.

 

             It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.         That the performance of the Fusion contract to date, wider market trends and the financial information on Fusion’s performance in 2021 be noted;

 

2.         That the contract variation and changes to the management fee profile as set out in Appendix A ((Table 1) of the presented agenda report) be approved;

 

3.         That the £272,242 shortfall in income of the leisure management fee in 2021-22 be funded from the Government COVID Grant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74/21

75/21

Regeneration and Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

75/21                    

The Council considered a report which outlined necessary changes and recent amendments to the Council’s Investment Strategy.

 

In discussion, a Member expressed his opposition to the proposal and made particular reference to a number of previous projects that had been brought forward in accordance with the Commercial Investment Strategy that had proven to be unsuccessful.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That an update to the Commercial Investment Strategy, in the form of the newly titled Regeneration and Investment Strategy contained in Appendix A of the presented report, be approved.

 

 

76/21

2022/23 Capital Strategy; 2022/23 Treasury Management Strategy; and 2022/23 Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

76/21                    

Consideration was given to a report recommending the approval of the proposed Capital Strategy, Investment Strategy and Treasury Management for 2022/23, together with their associated prudential indicators.

In discussion, reference was made to:

 

(a)      the timing of the Treasury Management related training.  The lead Member confirmed his support for the views of the Audit Committee whereby the 2023 Treasury Management training should be held later in that Calendar Year as part of the Member Induction Programme following the May 2023 local elections;

 

(b)      the South West Mutual Bank initiative.  With regard to the latest position of the initiative, it was noted that the matter was scheduled for consideration on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme during the early months of the 2022/23 Municipal Year;

 

(c)       concerns relating to the draft Capital Strategy for 2022-23.  In citing the Council’s investment property in Dartmouth and the recent St Ann’s Chapel project, a Member raised some specific concerns in relation to the draft Capital Strategy.  Furthermore, the Member was of the view that the St Ann’s Chapel project should be subject of a lessons learned exercise by the Audit Committee. 

 

It was then:

RESOLVED

 

1.         That the following strategies for 2022-23 be approved:

 

i.       the Capital Strategy (as set out in Appendix A of the presented agenda report);

ii.      the Treasury Management Strategy (as set out in Appendix B of the presented agenda report); and

iii.     the Investment Strategy (as set out in Appendix C of the presented agenda report); and

 

2.     That delegated authority be given to the Section 151 Officer, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Executive Member for Finance, to make any minor amendments to these Strategies, if required, throughout the 2022/23 Financial Year.

 

77/21

Pay Policy Statement and Pay and Reward Strategy pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

77/21                    

In line with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011, Members considered a report proposing adoption of the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 and Pay and Reward Strategy for 2021/22.

 

In her introduction, the Leader of Council made reference to the updated Pay and Reward Strategy that had been circulated to all Members since the agenda had been originally published.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1)     That the Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22 (as attached at Appendix A of the presented report) be adopted; and

 

2)     That the Pay and Reward Strategy 2021/22 (as attached at the updated Appendix B of the presented report) be adopted.

 

78/21

Ringmore Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

78/21

Consideration was given to a report that sought approval of the making (adoption) of the Ringmore Neighbourhood Plan.

 

In discussion, the following points were raised:-

 

(a)      A number of Members paid tribute to the work of the Ringmore Neighbourhood Planning Group for its tireless work in reaching this point, particularly in such a small parish;

 

(b)      The number of planning related issues that were pertinent to Ringmore were recognised and it was hoped that pragmatic policies including a ‘primary residency’ requirement would help to counter the huge housing pressures that were facing the parish.  Furthermore, a Member felt that all coastal areas in the South Hams should investigate the merits of including a similar ‘primary residency’ requirement within their respective Neighbourhood Plans.

 

             It was then:

RESOLVED

 

That the Ringmore Neighbourhood Development Plan be made (adopted).

 

 

 

79/21

Honours Board – South Hams District Council Chairmen pdf icon PDF 475 KB

Minutes:

79/21                    

Consideration was given to a report that presented options for the continuation of a board that recognised past and future chairmen of the Council.

 

In discussion, the majority of Members supported the retention of a past Council Chairmen Honours Board.  However, the modern day relevance and appropriateness of the term ‘Chairman’ was disputed by a number of Members.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Council support the retention of a past Council Chairmen Honours Board that is in keeping with the modern style of the new Council Chamber.

 

 

80/21

Grant to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

80/21                    

The Council considered a report recommending that the Council made a grant of £10,000 to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee.

 

In discussion, reference was made to:-

 

(a)      the generosity of the local communities of South Hams.  A number of Members wished to put on record their thanks to the generosity of the residents of the South Hams District and the amount of money that was being raised to support the Appeal and the number of local families who were willing to accommodate refugees was felt to be remarkable;

 

(b)      support for the grant.  Members welcomed the very important gesture of allocating a £10,000 grant to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and felt that it would help to make a difference in the appeal effort.

 

It was then

 

RESOLVED

 

i)       That a grant of £10,000 be made to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC); and

 

ii)     That the grant be funded from a £10,000 contribution from un-ringfenced revenue reserves.

 

81/21

Reports of Bodies pdf icon PDF 314 KB

to receive and as may be necessary approve the minutes and recommendations of the under-mentioned Bodies:

 

(* Indicates minutes containing recommendations to Council).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

81/21                    

That the minutes and recommendations of the undermentioned bodies be received and approved subject to any amendments listed below:-

 

a)     Audit Committee - 9 December 2021

 

b)     Salcombe Harbour Board – 24 January 2022

 

c)      Development Management Committee – 16 February 2022

 

d)     Council Tax Setting Panel – 22 February 2022

 

e)     Executive – 3 March 2022

 

E.88/21 Housing Crisis – ‘Step On’ Scheme

 

In light of his belief that the public sector should not financially support the housing market, a Member expressed his opposition to the Executive recommendation to adopt the pilot ‘Step On’ Scheme.

 

RESOLVED

 

That, with effect from 1 April 2022, the pilot ‘Step On’ Scheme be adopted.

 

 

 

E.90/21 Planning Improvement Plan Update: Local Validation List And Planning Charter

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Local Validation List (as set out at Appendix 1 of the presented agenda report to the Executive Meeting) be approved.

 

 

E.92/21 Month 10 Revenue Budget Monitoring 2021/22

 

RESOLVED

 

That £320,000 of the additional planning income be transferred into the Planning Policy and Major Developments Earmarked Reserve at the end of the 2021/22 Financial Year to manage future fluctuations in planning income.

 

 

E.93/21 Month 10 Capital Programme Monitoring 2021/22

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Play Area Renewals Reserve be increased by £34,500 for the forecast underspend on Play Parks (as set out in paragraph 3.10 of the published agenda report to the Executive Meeting), bringing the total Reserve up to £128,000.

 

 

82/21

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Minutes:

82/21                    

The Chairman informed the Meeting that no Public Questions had been received for consideration at this Meeting.

 

 

83/21

Questions

to consider the following question(s) (if any)  received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

a)        From Cllr McKay to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

 

‘The Leader will be aware of the Constitution-Part 4-Council Procedure Rules-Rule 13 which states: (removed due to 50 word rule).

 

Does the Leader agree that this rule provides a framework for the Council to consult with its residents and why has it not been employed?’

 

 

b)        From Cllr O’Callaghan to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

 

‘Is it true that SHDC missed the deadline set by the Information Commissioner to reply to a resident making FOI requests in relation to the council’s waste management contract?  If so, why did this happen and have we ensured the resident got replies – and that other FOI requests do too?’

 

 

c)       From Cllr Pannell to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

 

‘Will the Leadership of this Council consider following the example of Cornwall Council to devolve control and ownership of a number of its car parks to town and parish councils on the grounds that local people best understand local needs and how to manage them and, if not, why not?’

 

 

d)        From Cllr McKay to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

 

‘The Leader will be aware that the South Hams needs to reduce its emissions of GHG’s by ~10% per year over 8 years if it is to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030. Does the Leader think the Council’s Action Plan provides a framework for doings this, and why?’

 

 

e)        From Cllr McKay to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

 

‘This Council has earmarked £600k for climate change and biodiversity, largely at the behest of the opposition. But why has so little of this money been spent on the myriad opportunities it must surely be aware of to address the Emergency it declared two and half years ago?’

 

Minutes:

83/21                    

It was noted that five Questions on Notice had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

a) From Cllr McKay to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

‘The Leader will be aware of the Constitution-Part 4-Council Procedure Rules - Rule 13.  Does the Leader agree that this rule provides a framework for the Council to consult with its residents and why has it not been employed?’

 

In response, Cllr Pearce advised that the Council had adopted the Council Meeting Procedure Rules in July 2021, replacing and therefore revoking, the equivalent part of the Constitution.  The Rules were agreed by Council following a number of meetings with Members about the Council’s decision-making arrangements and a review of the Council’s Constitution.  Cllr Pearce also recalled that Council deferred adoption of the Constitution from the Annual Meeting in May, so that Members had more time to consider the new Rules.

Cllr Pearce proceeded to inform that, in its adopted form, Council Meeting Procedure Rule 13 dealt with the Procedure for making amendments to Budget proposals.  Previously, the same numbered Procedure Rule had provided for the Leader of the Council to have a discretion to call an annual “State of the South Hams Debate” and to decide the form of the debate “with the aim of enabling public involvement and publicity”.  It was a provision that had its origin in the Model Constitution introduced by the Secretary of State following the Local Government Act 2000 coming into force, which required all local councils to have a Constitution that covered all of the Standing Orders, delegated processes and the Code of conduct for Members. 

Furthermore, the Council was committed to consulting with its residents.  In reality, a single annual debate, did not provide the time or the level of engagement with the public that would be needed to ensure that their views are communicated effectively and received an appropriate level of consideration.  This was to be contrasted with the approach taken by the Council to consult with residents as part of the process of forming “Better Lives for All” and the various strategies that flowed from it, such as the Housing Strategy.

In addition, “Better Lives for All” also had a number of actions focussed upon how the Council could improve communication and engagement.  These actions were detailed in the thematic delivery plans.  They included developing a Customer Access Strategy and a forward plan of Consultation on Engagement.  Both were now in place.  Accordingly, the Council could show by its words and actions, that it had a firm commitment to consultation and engagement.

 

b) From Cllr O’Callaghan to Cllr Pearce, Leader of the Council

‘Is it true that SHDC missed the deadline set by the Information Commissioner to reply to a resident making FOI requests in relation to the council’s waste management contract? If so, why did this happen and have we ensured the resident got replies – and that other FOI requests do too?’

 

Prior to providing her response, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83/21

84/21

Notice of Motion

to consider the following motions received (if any) in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.1

 

a)        From Cllr Pearce and Cllr Hawkins

 

“South Hams District Council is immensely troubled by the horrific devastation in Ukraine, and the escalating terrible humanitarian crisis facing the country. In light of this, and as a way of expressing support for members of our communities* who have ties with Ukraine:

 

This Council:

 

a) Condemns the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their families and friends, including those local to the South Hams.

b) Stands ready to provide support to those affected by this War and will open our arms to people displaced and affected.

c)   Will work with and support the efforts of our local communities to provide help and comfort to those in need.

 

*We understand that there are no Ukrainian nationals living in the South Hams, but there are 29 in Torbay and 27 in Plymouth City Council areas.  Anecdotally we believe a few at least may work in the South Hams or have very close relations who do.  What the figures do not tell us is how many naturalised Ukrainians there may be in any of these areas and therefore how many family relations from the Ukraine may be joining them.”

 

 

b)     From Cllr McKay and Cllr Birch

 

‘This Council recognises the fundamental importance of its Constitution to its governance and to the residents it serves and that the Constitution should provide a clear and concise account of its rules and procedures so that all (Members, officers and the public) are able to understand them and to hold the Council to account where necessary.

 

This Council therefore resolves that:

 

1.      In recognition of its importance, no changes to the constitution should be made without full consultation with all members and approved by Full Council. Minor changes may be made but only where they are limited to correcting or improving layout, spelling or grammar and have regard to 2 below;

 

2.      All changes, including minor changes, are logged and a version history and change-log is maintained and published on the Council’s website;

 

3.      The Constitution on the Council’s website is always the latest approved version and marked as such, and there is access to archived versions;

 

4.      The Constitution is made available for download as a single pdf file;

 

5.      The website provides a means of searching the whole of the currently approved constitution, as published on its website;

 

and that the Constitution is updated to reflect this resolution.’

 

 

c)      From Cllr McKay and Cllr Birch

 

‘This Council recognises the importance of considering motions put to full council by Members in a fair and orderly way and resolves that any motions that are not heard, due to the 45 minute rule, or for any other reason that is time related, are automatically carried over to the next meeting and that the running order is preserved, and that the Constitution is updated to reflect this  ...  view the full agenda text for item 84/21

Minutes:

84/21                    

It was noted that four Motions on Notice had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.1:

a)     From Cllr Pearce and Cllr Hawkins

 

South Hams District Council is immensely troubled by the horrific devastation in Ukraine, and the escalating terrible humanitarian crisis facing the country. In light of this, and as a way of expressing support for members of our communities* who have ties with Ukraine:

 

This Council:

 

a)      Condemns the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their families and friends, including those local to the South Hams.

b)      Stands ready to provide support to those affected by this War and will open our arms to people displaced and affected.

c)      Will work with and support the efforts of our local communities to provide help and comfort to those in need.

 

*We understand that there are no Ukrainian nationals living in the South Hams, but there are 29 in Torbay and 27 in Plymouth City Council areas. Anecdotally we believe a few at least may work in the South Hams or have very close relations who do. What the figures do not tell us is how many naturalised Ukrainians there may be in any of these areas and therefore how many family relations from the Ukraine may be joining them.”

 

In her introduction, the proposer highlighted the relevance of the debate earlier in the meeting (Minute 80/21 above refers).

 

During the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

(a)       Some Members felt that Central Government could be acting more proactively to help the people of the Ukraine.  As a result, the following amendment was PROPOSED and SECONDED as an additional point to the motion:

 

‘d) Calls upon our MPs to lobby Government to relax its visa criteria and encourage greater access for Ukrainian refugees who wish to come to the UK.’

 

In discussion, there was widespread support expressed for this amendment and, when put to the vote, it was declared CARRIED;

 

(b)      A Member took issue with the word ‘unprovoked’ being included in the motion.  However, in discussion, a number of Members stated their disagreement with this viewpoint and felt that the word should be retained in the motion.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

“South Hams District Council is immensely troubled by the horrific devastation in Ukraine, and the escalating terrible humanitarian crisis facing the country. In light of this, and as a way of expressing support for members of our communities* who have ties with Ukraine:

 

This Council:

 

a)     Condemns the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their families and friends, including those local to the South Hams.

b)     Stands ready to provide support to those affected by this War and will open our arms to people displaced and affected.

c)      Will work with and support the efforts of our local communities to provide help and comfort to those in need.

d)     Calls upon our MPs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84/21